For most PC gamers out there the MOBA genre or massively online battle arena is probably nothing new to you but for me and probably most other console specific gamers it might be completely unknown. To welcome you into the genre is Awesomenauts a cartoony looking 2D side scroller, and I have to say it’s a mighty fine first introduction.
I can’t say anything about the game without mentioning its major Saturday morning cartoon vibe. Kicking the game off as soon as you start is a animated opening sequence complete with a theme song that feels straight of some show you watched as a kid. Its catchy, fun and a quick look of the vibe that the rest of the game gives off.
Like I said earlier Awesomenauts is a MOBA game which has you choose from one of the available characters or class types and throws you into a team of four to try to capture the opposing team’s base. After reaching the base you have to destroy your enemy’s power supply to win the match. But before you can get to the power you have to also get through the one or two active turrets blocking your path.
Of course those aren’t the only things in your way, the opposing team of four also have the same goal and will be trying to kill you and your teammates to slow you down as you try to complete your goal. The whole game is big tug-o-war until one team can get ahead of the other and win the match. If you have a good team that can work together you SHOULD be able to get ahead, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case.
When you’re just starting up the game for the first time you will start off with three characters to use in battle with more available later as you level up or become available through DLC in the future. Unfortunately these characters that you start with are terrible and will just help you get demolished by other players who usually already have some of the far superior unlockable characters. The game doesn’t really do any kind of matchmaking to find equally leveled players who have similar characters, making the first few hours very annoying.
The few matches where neither team had any of the unlockables were very enjoyable because each team felt equally matched but if someone joins the game after someone else drops out or is replacing an AI character, the other team is most likely the ones to lose.
Though once I had leveled up and got a couple of my own unlockable characters the game became much more fun. The few times where I would face off against a team who had no unlocks I could easily win the match for us, just like how I was treated previously, but now I felt I had a more of an equal chance at winning when facing any team making the game more fun.
Though I should say even when I could barely win a match I did have a good time playing the game. While fighting off enemies and trying to destroy turrets to reach the enemy’s base you are also collecting money to buy yourself upgrades. Increasing your health, walk speed, attack strength, cooldown times and tons of other stuff all come into play especially since you wouldn’t be able to upgrade every single thing in one round. You’ll have to pick and choose whatever seems most important to you to aid you in this match because in the next you’ll have to start over again.
One of the best ways to gain money in the game is to kill enemies making it a bad idea for you get killed. One strategy I found helped me a lot was escaping to your base to heal yourself when near death instead of continuously dying to provide your enemies with tons of cash.
Awesomenauts, though mainly an online game, can also be played offline with AI enemies and teammates. Both modes can be played with three other friends through four player split screen as well as online. Whether you’re playing the game with everyone on the couch or just over Live Awesomenauts is a lot more fun with friends instead of just the random people who may or may not work want to work with you.
Starting off Awesomenauts honestly wasn’t a very enjoyable experience. The uneven teams right from the beginning might mean a lot of lost matches but once you level up you’ll be able to have a fairer chance and losing a match doesn’t feel like you’re just being pushed out of the way by the other team. But while leveling up the game was still enjoyable and any console players looking to get into the MOBA genre shouldn’t be disappointed.
This review is based on a downloadable copy of the 360 version of Awesomenauts.